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Amnesty pushes for renewal of Human Rights Commission mandate

By William Madouk


Amnesty International has called for the renewal of the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

According to the International Rights Watchdog, the fundamental issues of setting up the human rights body are yet to be realized, as are the causes of conflict and atrocities.

“We remain concerned that the underlying conditions that led to the establishment of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (CHRSS) in 2016 are yet to see adequate progress,” partly reads the statement.

“We urge this Council to renew the Commission’s mandate without any restrictions so that it may continue to exercise all its functions, including that of collecting and preserving evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, for purposes of facilitating accountability in the future,” it added.

As South Sudan prepares for elections, Amnesty International argues about the shrinking civic and political space coupled by arbitrary detentions of political opponents, the absence of basic freedoms of movement and association, the censorship of independent media, and the harassment of civil society actors.

According to the watchdog, it includes an upsurge of ethnic conflicts in Abyei and Greater Pibor Administrative Areas, as well as in Jonglei, Warrap, Upper Nile, Western Equatoria, and Central Equatoria States.

“International scrutiny of the human rights situation in the country is needed now more than ever,” they noted.

“It is essential that the Commission is allowed to continue its documentation at this critical juncture to serve as an early warning mechanism and provide international oversight,” it continued.

Amnesty International underscored that the Council should urge the Commission to redouble its efforts and establish early warning and response mechanisms to document and highlight rising human rights violations.

“The government’s failure to investigate or prosecute crimes under international law as provided for in Chapter V of the 2018 Peace Agreement continues to undermine efforts by victims and survivors for justice,” the rights watchdog lamented.

Amnesty International further stated that the Commission’s work is central to preventing the perpetuation of these violations.

“The Human Rights Council must extend the Commission’s mandate in full during this election period, which is likely to be followed by an uptick in human rights violations.”

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom also echoed Amnesty International’s call for the UN Security Council to renew the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

The UK’s Human Rights Ambassador, Rita French, delivered her country’s statement for Item 2 of the general debate.

“We continue to support the implementation of the peace agreement as South Sudan works towards credible and peaceful elections. But accountability remains severely limited, and we urge this Council to extend the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights,” said Amb. Rita.

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